Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lovelock's book - The Revenge of Gaia

It was reading the reviews and some qotes from this book, now available in the US, (and even at my local library after I asked them to get a copy), that got me started on this blog. I felt dismal and hopeless, obvious if you read the first posts. Then I got lost in details, and read another book in the Meantime, "the Weather Makers", by Flannery, which didn't have so dismala take on the situation. Hope crept back. The alarm was more gradualist, time wasn't so critical, final scenarios from political incompetence weren't so drastic. Almost soothing.

I'm back to hopeless. Lovelock's book is devastating, and his science is as solid as the less alarming, but less prone to overstatemant academic variety. The endless stream of bad news as told in this blog and elsewhere is daunting and depressing. I'm back to figuring how to get to Alaska and how to stay there. Get a job in the oil industry? Good birding for awhile, and severe seasonal bipolar roller-coaster. And wondering if it's even worth it.

An interesting aspect of the book is Lovelock's insistence that the only currently available time-buying technology is nuclear power generation. That doesn't sit well with an old activist, but his logic is simple: the disaster of rampant global warming is far worse than all the problems associated with nukes. I can see his point, but it's hard to swallow. And even that is a no guarantee solution. I'm uneasy about the proliferation of nuclear materials in an increasingly unstable and desperate world, witness the current eruption in the middle east, and the US encouragement and support of (nuclear armed) Israel.

Another strange glitch in the book is his opposition to wind power. He seems to believe that it's beside the point, though it is proving its effectiveness by leaps and bounds. Still, one gets the impression that his real objection is aesthetic, that he sees it ruining the countryside which he treasures, especially parts that haven't been taken over by industrial agriculture. In light of his perspective on nukes, the clear lesser-of-two-evils thinking there, it's a glaring inconsistency. I wonder how much Tony Blair's advocacy of a nuclear ramping up to combat carbon emissions stems from Lovelock's stance? I don't know how well they're acquainted, but Lovelock is one of the world's prominant public scientists.

I still haven't seen the Al Gore movie. Guess I'll have to cobble up a review of that too.

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